Official: Little Dragon to release album number four in 2014

Thanks to Emily Zemler of Rolling Stone we know the following:

  • Little Dragon will release their fourth record during the spring of 2014
  • A handful of tracks feature members of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchesta
  • They will begin extensive touring during the spring
  • A short film may be in the works
Photo by Chris Saunders

Here are a few chosen quotes:

  • “I think when we started we had no vision whatsoever,” singer Yukimi Nagano said. “We just wanted to make the ball start rolling and just brainstorm ideas and see what comes up and then make plans thereafter. I think a lot of visions came through. Our sound is wide – it’s not just one particular style – so we dove into different worlds. New worlds, new spaces we haven’t been to before. There definitely are elements of sonically romantic tracks. It feels like there are different moods and we’re exploring ourselves a bit.”
  • “It’s nice to see your music reflected on another musician [members of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra],” drummer Erik Bodin said. “Especially when they come from the outside and you can see how they interpret it. It’s an honor.”
  • “It seemed interesting to let go,” bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin said. “We’ve never really had the opportunity before.”
  • “In the past there’s no way we had a budget to do that,” Nagnao said. “There’s always been a compromise somewhere. We’re happy with our mixes – all the guys are really diving in and honing their own mixing skills – but there are those people out there who only do this.”
  • “It’s going to be amazing for us, and hopefully for others,” Bodin said. “We’ve been – not tired of ourselves, but we really needed to make new music to energize the whole band. We toured for a while. This is our life and these are my closest people, and we spend so much time together, so giving us some new songs pushes us to the next step. It fertilizes us.”

Little Dragon talk Big Boi collaboration and opening for the Chili Peppers

After tearing up the main stage at L.A.’s Hard Summer on Friday night, Swedish band Little Dragon headed off to Montreal for a gig yesterday at the Osheaga Festival and then moved on to Chicago to wrap up the weekend at Lollapalooza. Three major festivals in three days sounds either like one of those “priceless” Master Card commercials or a radio station giveaway. What music fan wouldn’t dream of rocking the weekend away in three cities?

But the reality of getting from Hard to Osheaga to Lolla means Little Dragon won’t see any music. “We see a lot of good airplanes,” the band’s drummer, Erik Bodin, joked to Rolling Stone in their trailer backstage at Hard Summer.

“We’re really thankful you get it. Most people just say,’Oh my god, that’s so fun,'” frontwoman Yukimi Nagano said. “It’s obviously fun, it’s great, but there’s another side to it.”

Still, the quartet will gladly take the hectic schedule, and not just for the frequent flier miles. It comes with being in demand, which Little Dragon very much are at the moment. They just opened some dates for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and contributed to the new solo album by Outkast’s Big Boi, both very memorable experiences.

Opening for the Chilis brought Little Dragon into unchartered terrain. “It was a new world to explore, hockey arenas, a lot of echoes,” keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand said.

“And then middle America is a bit different than where we usually play, from the major cities,” Nagano added. While they were in different cities playing to larger crowds, even half-full arenas still brought in 7,000 people on most nights, and they found a positive reception. “The crowds were up for it, actually,” Bodin said. There were some opening-act bumps, however.

“There are always some hardcore fans in the front, ‘Where’s the guitar? There’s no guitar,'” bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin said.

They had no such problems collaborating with Big Boi. Nagano contributed vocals to the track “Momma Told Me,” and unlike most features these days, she actually got to work with Big Boi and not just his computer.

“We were in Atlanta and just kind of had a day together, it was one of those rare things where we met and had a vibe,” Nagano said.

Little Dragon might make a collective appearance on Big Boi’s album as well. “We produced one song that we gave to him,” Wallin said. Since it’s not their album and he is unsure if the track will make the final cut, he didn’t want to give away the title.

After all their high-profile collaborations and tours, plus about five years on the road, the band will hole up in September to start work on the follow-up to last year’s Ritual Union. While it’s hard for them to work on the road, they have some ideas and sketches of songs already underway. And they expect to have it out in 2013.

“We try to keep it not having a timeline when we’re creating to not feel stress, but realistically probably next year,” Nagano said of the release date. Source.

Rolling Stone says Ritual Union “hits a sweet spot” in four star review

2011 is shaping up as the year of abstract R&B: the Weeknd, James Blake and now the latest by this three-man, one-woman Swedish crew, who count Big Boi, Damon Albarn, Raphael Saadiq and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek among their fans and collaborators. Their third set hits a sweet spot between the futuristic soul of their debut and the synth pop of 2009’s Machine Dreams. “Brush the Heat” sounds like Sheila E. hittin’ the bong amid electronic dog whistles. “Precious” begins as dubstep pop, then morphs into an off-kilter house jam. On “Shuffle a Dream,” singer Yukimi Nagano seems to empathize with a superstar who—if she keeps this up—just might be her before long. – Rolling Stone

Band to watch: Little Dragon charms with dreamy electro-pop

Who: Swedish electro-soul foursome led by Japanese-Swedish singer Yukimi Nagano, whose effortlessly slinky R&B inflections make Little Dragon’s difficult-to-categorize sound instantly recognizable. On the Gotheburg band’s upcoming third album, Ritual Union (out July 26th), they home in on the sweet spot they’ve been circling since their 2007 debut – richly textured and highly vibe-y electronic music that could soundtrack both the dance party (“Night Light,” “Little Man”) and the chill-out room (“Crystalfilm,” “When I Go Out”). “It has always been kind of hard for us, because people try to put us in different boxes,” says drummer Erik Bodin. “Of course, we are a pop band, but we’ve also always been into beat music and things with a psychedelic dreamy element. We’ve just never really found a good name for it.”

Old School: Though keyboard player Håkan Wirenstrand joined a bit later, the other three have been playing together since high school, when Bodin and bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin invited a shy, 14-year-old Nagano to join their band. “They were two years older than me and I was just flattered they even asked me,” she says. “Like, ‘the cool guys in their last year asked me to sing with THEM.’ They described their sound as drum & bass, electro, experimental – every genre you could think of, in one band. Sounds terrible, right?” Adds Bodin, with a laugh: “Sounds like us.”

Nose to the Grindstone: The band played together for several years before giving the project a name; they christened themselves Little Dragon after a friend offered to put out a seven-inch single in 2006. Things haven’t slowed down since. “Twice,” one of that single’s two A-sides, popped up in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in 2008 and became the band’s early calling card. In the years since, they’ve earned fans in Gorillaz (whose 2010 LP Plastic Beach includes two songs written and performed with Little Dragon), Raphael Saadiq (who invited Nagano to sing on his new Stone Rollin’ album) and Erykah Badu (who calls the band “one of my favorites”).

Building Blocks: Since they’ve been playing together for almost half their lives, the members of Little Dragon have at this point refined a songwriting process perfectly suited to their schizophonic tendencies. Bodin, Wallin and Wirenstrand will each work on their own initial song ideas with Nagano, and then continue building the rest of the track together. “Three little duos,” Bodin calls them. “I think it’s helped us push each other to grow as songwriters – all of us,” he says. “And that can only really happen if you have been playing together a long time.” Adds Nagano: “If someone would give me 10 songs that have a mixture of beats from Hakan and Erik and Fred, I think it would be very easy for me to guess who did which thing. After the base of the idea is there and we start building on it, it gets more interesting, it gets better and feels more unified.” – Rolling Stone